Can You Help Me?: Living in the Turbulent World of Huntington Disease shares the surprising, insightful, challenging, and even encouraging stories of patients and their families who live with Huntington Disease. Having seen patients for more than 40 years, Dr Thomas Bird, a pioneer neurogeneticist, adds a human touch to this genetic brain disease that devastates persons during mid-life when they can least afford it.
With a brief history of Huntington Disease and the occasional scientific detail, the true heart of the book is the human experience of the disorder:
· The man who cannot stay out of prison because he is addicted to being a burglar.
· Another man shoots and kills his roommate while watching television and cannot explain why he did it.
· The woman with Huntington Disease copes with her depression by using Texas line dancing.
· A twelve year old girl with juvenile Huntington Disease who can barely walk and talk, but her classmates rally around with touching and heartfelt support.
· And the 72 year old man with late onset Huntington Disease and severe depression is made worse by ECT, but improved (for a while) with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.
These are just some of the compelling stories of people of all ages and in all walks of life who feel trapped by a progressive degenerative brain disease from which there is no escape.
Dr. Thomas Bird is a Professor of Neurology and Medical Genetics at the University of Washington who has been a pioneer in the field of Clinical Neurogenetics. He has received numerous national awards for his research on hereditary diseases of the nervous system including Alzheimer and Huntington diseases and established the first clinic for adults with neurogenetic diseases in the United States.